Friday, August 07, 2009

Santa Ana Federal Building & Post Office (1931)

Today I'm focusing on another historic building on the list of 20 Orange County post offices being considered for closure: The old Santa Ana Federal Building and Post Office, now known as the Spurgeon Station. (Last Thursday, I posted about the Downtown Huntington Beach Post Office.) It is located at 605 Bush St., in Santa Ana and is on the National Register of Historic Places. (#85000134)
In his book, Early Santa Ana, Guy Ball writes, "James A. Wetmore and his successor, Louis A. Simon, designed the building in the Mission/Spanish Revival style. Simon worked for the U.S. Treasury for 45 years as supervising architect. He retired in 1941."
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The cornerstone was laid Aug 18, 1931 by Santa Ana's Masonic Lodges. (The first official event after the dedication of their new Masonic Temple at 5th & Sycamore.) Congressman Phillip D. Swing delivered the address and praised Postmaster Terry E. Stephenson who successfully lobbied to start construction two years earlier than scheduled.
At the dedication, Stephenson said, "The first letter I wrote after learning that I was to be postmaster was a letter to Representative Swing to have a Federal building and that I would direct my efforts toward getting one for Santa Ana. That was in 1923."
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Stephenson is also known today for having run (and partly owned) the Santa Ana Register and for being Orange County's first real local historian.

Like the other historically and architecturally significant post offices on the "hit list," I fear for Spurgeon Station. It's attractive, functional, and -- as I already pointed out -- listed on the National Register. I would hate to see it turned over to the tender mercies of developers (like the Basler-Twist House) or the City (like the YMCA Building, which has been neglected for almost 20 years).

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